Contains more suck than the leading hooker-bot.
It seems to happen to often that a series will be its own killer. You expect a household name in gaming to become obsolete because of a better franchise, not because the series itself digs its own grave. For the past few years now, Final Fantasy has begun dwindling into a vortex of suck ever since the overhyped release of Final Fantasy X-2 and the masochistic tradition continues with the release of Crisis Core on the PSP. An ambitious title and one that, on some level, can be an okay game, Crisis Core is really a disappointment more than it is a bad game.
At its core (Oh? A pun? I am too brilliant.), FF7:CC is an action-RPG with a heavier focus on the action like Kingdom Hearts. It essentially shares the same battle system which is an easy-to-understand menu on the bottom of the screen in which you scroll through and mash on the X button to attack, cast a spell or use items. It’s not very complicated and therefore it doesn’t allow much depth to the combat as you’ll be doing a lot of the same moves over and over again. You gain new Materia and items to use in the heat of battle, but they will do little to aid you seeing as how you can become so overly powerful that there’s very little use to them. The battles are affected by a roulette-like system called the DMV that will every now and then stop on a random combination of characters and numbers. If certain numbers align, your battle status will change to either being resistant to stuns, being invincible for the entire fight and other changes. If character heads align in a set of 3 the game triggers a Limit Break and depending on the numbers aligned during the first alignment, your limit break can increase in power. Every character on the DMV has their own unique Limit, which is neat. However, seeing as how this happens frequently in battle and you can’t skip them, it gets old pretty quickly. You can also trigger summons through the DMV and fortunately they are the sole effects of the DMV that I’ve never gotten tired of. They are all rendered in CG with graphics akin to the Advent Children movie and they have devastating effects on enemies.
The annoying thing about the DMV is simply that it’s all random. You have no control over it so when you really need it chances are it won’t be there to help you and when you need it the least, it’s there to summon Odin and one-shot an enemy that only had 50 HP left. It’s something that could have used a ton more refinement yet Squenix seemed to have little care to implement a better use out of the system throughout the game. When you’re not mulling over how awkward the DMV can be, you’ll be breezing through a various amount of enemies throughout memorable (for the most part) areas that were in Final Fantasy VII back on the PSX. On a nostalgic note, it’s great. It’s so much fun to see a re-imagined locale that you’ve had the pleasure to visit 10 years ago. That being said, they’ve included a slew of new locations that, while in tune with certain areas of the game’s world, make little-to-no-sense story wise. One minute you’ll be in a small town surrounded by farms and vineyards when, a loading screen later, you are confronted by a giant warehouse filled with robotic baddies. It breaks the flow and does little to keep you engaged in the already-confusing story that the game tells.
This, unfortunately, is where Crisis Core falls apart. The story is a sorrow-filled tale of 3 characters who can never seem to talk to each other without pausing for dramatic stares and couldn’t find a resolution if the UN’s best were there to help them. A confusing set of cataclysms tied together with some of the most dislikable characters in videogame history help elevate this game’s narrative to a level never seen before. Genesis, the game’s main antagonist, is by far-and-large the most despicable character of the bunch. An overly-androgynous character (Yes, even by Square’s standards) that has no other lines of dialogue besides poorly-written passages from a play and motives that are completely unclear to the player even past the 8-hour mark makes for a character that you will never want to see again. But it doesn’t end there. Oh no. There’s more that makes this a true menagerie of idiots. Angeal, the supporting character in the game, is the most contradicting character you will ever see. His awful dialogue will have him constantly turn back on his words and sayings to confuse you to no extent. They also introduce new characters to the cast; characters that you will not care about and either dismiss them or forget about them altogether. Of course, Crisis Core being a prologue of sorts to FF7, characters from the PSX title are introduced in a much younger age. Aeris, Cloud, Tseng, they all make an appearance and none of them seem to be very representative of the initial PSX title. Aeris has turned into a walking, brain-less shell as opposed to her giggly-outgoing self and Cloud is a frightened patsy compared to his reserved and unwelcoming appearance in the 1997 title.
To its credit, the game does feature a pretty satisfying ending and has its share of memorable boss battles. The problem lies within the paths you need to take to get to said events. Uninspired and bland in so many areas, the game fails to grow on you and comes off as nothing more than simple fan service for a race of fools that does not seem to want to die. I really wanted to like Crisis Core, but it really is games like this that make you wish certain people would see what a game really is instead of failing to look pass the single-sided wall that is their wish for a sequel to Final Fantasy VII. Maybe one day we will get a true sequel. Maybe we’ve already gotten in the form of the movie released a few years ago. Maybe the much-wished PS3 remake will actually happen. We can’t be sure and until something does (or doesn’t materialize), fans shouldn’t give into Square Enix’s wish to gouge the fan base of every penny they have. I made the mistake of purchasing this game, you shouldn’t. There’s nothing new to see here. Everything that is an important piece of story development has been told in the original 1997 RPG and what is new is absolutely nothing that you should put yourself through. If you’re interested in the game there’s a 95% chance you already know the ending and there is very little reason for you to experience the disappointing crawl through Crisis Core. You’re better off spending your money on a collectible or a poster of Cloud. Chances are the memories you’ll get through said purchase will be less painful than Crisis Core.